Last year, Miguel Andujar burst on to the scene a little earlier than expected. In this case that was a great thing. Andujar, who was recalled on April 1 of 2018, went on to have a fantastic debut season, finishing in second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind two-way sensation Shohei Othani.
Andujar stole the show, posting some incredible offensive numbers as a rookie. In fact, from start to finish, he may have been the Yankees best and most consistent hitter. He batted .297 with an OPS of .855 while hitting 27 homers and 47 doubles! Those 47 doubles are the fifth most all-time for a single season in Yankees history.
As most fans know, however, Andujar struggled with his glove for most of the season which eventually led to his benching in an elimination game against the Red Sox in the ALDS. It is hard to justify taking your best overall bat out of the lineup in a game like that, but it goes to show how they felt about his glove.
With Andujar sidelined due to a labrum tear in his shoulder, Yankees fans have been blessed with a premier, elite level glove from Gio Urshela. Not that it justifies the Yankees or Boone to sit Andujar in that game last year, but it makes it a little easier for fans to understand just how much of a difference a great defender can make.
To support his play even more, Urshela has been tearing the cover off the ball. Hitting .330 with an OPS of .874, the Yankees are a better team with Urshela on the field than an injured Andujar. This is just one reason why the Yankees and fans shouldn’t stress over losing him for the remainder of 2019.
Urshela is just one of a few more infielders that make this Yankees infield so incredibly deep. Brian Cashman brought in former batting champ and second baseman DJ LeMahieu to act as a super-utilityman. All he’s done is hit, so far leading the team with a .322 batting average. On top of LeMahieu, Yankees prospect Thairo Estrada has come up and in his short big league stint, has hit .290 with two homers.
Another good sign for the Yankees is that they expect Didi Gregorius to return soon enough, and maybe they’ll get shortstop Troy Tulowitzki back at some point. This would give them all sorts of options for the infield on a day-to-day basis. The infield then would most likely consist of some combination of Gregorius, Gleyber Torres, Luke Voit, DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela. With Gold Glove-caliber fielders all over the infield and premier hitting, this infield still doesn’t show many weaknesses.
Miguel Andujar opting for season-ending surgery is "absolutely the right move," says Mark Teixeira. pic.twitter.com/pfa49SOR5T— YES Network (@YESNetwork) May 16, 2019
In the end, it is the right decision for Andujar to get the surgery. With the depth of the infield, there is no reason to put any more wear and tear on the torn right labrum that has held him back so far. Obviously, it would be nice to have him playing, but at this point we know it would never be at 100%.The Yankees are more than covered across the diamond.